ELLSWORTH — State education officials may soon require schools to collect and report student Social Security numbers for use in a statewide database.
Using Social Security numbers as identifiers would enable the Department of Education to track students after they leave the public school system, said Bill Hurwitch, project director for the Maine Statewide Longitudinal Data System.
State and federal agencies that monitor employment, military enlistment and college enrollment typically use Social Security numbers to identify individuals. The DOE would be able to link to those agencies’ databases if it also used Social Security numbers as identifiers.
The DOE database would catalog information such as dropout rates, test scores on college-readiness exams, demographics and student transcript information. Education officials could examine which factors influenced a student’s future performance.
For instance, the DOE could access U.S. Department of Labor data to determine the average salary of a group of former students.
Data could be used to improve educational programming.
Students would be evaluated as groups, not as individuals, Hurwitch said. Groups would be composed of 11 or more people to avoid any one individual being identified.
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